Entrance to the fort
Built in 1577 at the far end of the Sítio promontory, this monument was originally a fort but became a lighthouse in 1903. It was dedicated to the archangel Michael, whose image was sculpted above the entrance in 1644, when the fort was expanded. Over the years it protected the town of Nazaré and guided its fishermen at sea. In the early 1800s it was briefly taken over by Napoleon’s troops as they invaded Portugal.
The fort offers views of the town's beaches
It’s located above Praia do Norte, the beach known for having the record of the world’s biggest waves. During the international competitions, which usually take place in autumn and winter, it’s where many spectators stand to watch pros and daredevils riding the giant waves.
The interior houses an exhibition related to surfing and the town's record-breaking waves
Since 2015 it’s open as a tourist attraction, for the views of the coastline and for being a museum paying tribute to surfers and Nazaré’s surfing culture. Its informative exhibits offer scientific explanations for the record-breaking waves, and include videos and photos of extreme surfing, plus a display of surfboards offered by surfers from around the world.
Exhibition of surfboards used by many of the world's top surfers in Nazaré
How to Get to the São Miguel Arcanjo Fort
Those with a car just have to follow the signs pointing in its direction from the center of Nazaré, and may park on the lot above the beach. Those relying on public transportation need to take the funicular by Praia da Nazaré, and walk down the road from behind the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré (a 15-to-20-minute walk from the funicular station).